Charges Filed Against Owasso Police Officer Accused Of Excessive Force
NOWATA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Criminal charges were filed against an Owasso police officer who’s been on administrative leave while under investigation for excessive force.
Friday, the Nowata County district attorney charged Officer Mike Denton with assault and battery with and deadly weapon and reckless conduct with a firearm.
Denton has been on administrative leave since June when he was caught on dash cam video hitting a suspect following a high-speed chase.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said the dash cam footage and body cam footage played a major role in finishing the investigation.
The high-speed chase from Tulsa through Owasso ended in Nowata as police from a number of departments surrounded a white truck.
Video shows Denton jamming his shotgun through the window, hitting the suspect, Cody Matthews.
From there, officers Tased Matthews, who was holding a knife, then tried to get him out of the truck. Once he's down, the video shows Denton hitting Mathews again.
That’s what led to Nowata County District Attorney, Kevin Buchanan, filing criminal charges against Denton.
Jessica Brown with OSBI said, "We approach it just like any other investigation, and that is to try our best to collect all the facts in the case, and the facts came in the form of interviews with other officers that were at the scene when the arrest was made."
Brown said, through the investigation, the police who were on the scene with Denton were also interviewed. She said information from those interviews and the video was handed over to the DA.
Brown said in situations like this, having the video is a tremendous asset to the investigation.
"Any video of an incident helps dramatically in an investigation because it spells out the facts," she said.
On the charge of assault and battery, documents say, Denton, "without justifiable or excusable cause" held a shotgun in his hands with the intent of causing bodily harm.
On the second charge of reckless conduct, the documents say, while hitting the suspect, Denton also hit a Nowata officer who was standing close by.
As of now, no warrant for Denton's arrest has been issued.
If he is convicted, depending on the charge, he could face a fine or up to life in prison.
In a statement, the Owasso Police Department said Denton was placed on administrative leave with the excessive force allegations came to light. They said he remains on leave pending the completion of the internal investigation.
They said the charges filed against Denton in Nowata County are being taken seriously and will be considered as part of the ongoing administrative process.
Denton's actions prompted the new investigation just months after he's back on the force after another excessive force complaint.
The old video shows Denton elbowing a handcuffed suspect in 2011.
Denton lost his job but won it back, with back pay, through arbitration and the courts.